Mangum Fire over 60,000 acres; fire tankers flying out of St. George airport

A fire tanker lands at St. George airport before flying back to the Mangum fire in Northern Arizona, St. George, Utah, June 19, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Mangum Fire in Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest has grown to 61,210 acres with 4% containment as of Friday night.

A massive plume of smoke rising from Mangum Fire burning in Northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, Coconino County, Arizona, June 13, 2020 | Photo courtesy of National Forest Service, St. George News

Mangum Fire Public Information Officer Sharma Chavez also confirmed there are currently 640 crews battling the fire. In addition to crews on the ground, there are fire tankers flying out of the St. George airport to help battle the fire.

“As of today, crews are getting a better handle on the fire,” Chavez said. “The only area that is of major concern is that northeastern side of the fire that still has some open edge to it. It has not been worked as hard by firefighters with the concentration being put on gaining that anchor on the southern, eastern and western edge of the fire.”

The very southern point of the fire is where the Mangum fire started, but with strong winds and red flag warnings through some of the week, the fire was pushed more northeast.

The dry and hot weather will continue in terms of the forecast, but the winds will subside. The temperatures and dryness will still make it easy for fire fuels to combust, but with lowered winds, the weather will be working in favor of the firefighters to some extent.

Chavez also spoke about road closures around the fire. House Rock Road is not closed on the Utah side, only the Arizona side, which led to some confusion about trailhead access. State Route 89 A remains closed just south of Fredonia with active fires on both sides of the freeway while state Route 67 also remains closed from Jacob Lake to the Grand Canyon.

A number of planes that are dropping retardant on the Mangum fire are flying back and forth from the St. George Airport where they are using it as a temporary air tanker base.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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